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PHOTO: Nick Mullens/WOUB

Ohio Softball: ‘Cats Surge Past Toledo to Reach MAC Semifinals

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One pitch.

That’s all it took for the No. 3 seed Ohio Bobcats to send a message to the No. 7 seed Toledo Rockets that they were ready to play.

Allie Englant drove that first pitch into left-center field and set the tone for the Bobcats 7-1 victory in the second round of the MAC tournament.

“We played loose and had a lot of energy all day,” Ohio Head Coach Kenzie Roark said. “Allie taking that first pitch and getting us started early was a great spark plug.”

After a Katie Yun fielders choice, Alex Day, Morgan Geno, and Natalie Alvarez all walked to give Ohio a 1-0 lead in the bottom half of the first inning.

That set up the hero of last nights game, Charlee Pond for a bases-loaded single to put the Bobcats up 2-0.

Mackenzie Brunswick continued her hot MAC tournament with a two-RBI single to put Ohio up 4-0 in the first inning.

“They look comfortable here,” Roark said.

Madi McCrady locked in and only allowed four hits all game for her second complete game performance in as many days for the Bobcats.

“We’re trying to rest up and be ready for the next game and try and come out fighting again tomorrow,” McCrady said.

“Championship week, you just run them (pitchers) until they go,” Roark said.

McCrady is no stranger to success at Firestone arena, like her teammate Katie Yun, both have won OHSAA and MAC championships at this very field.

“It’s awesome, I’ve been here a couple times and I feel like I’m at home,” McCrady said. “I have all my family and fans here, it’s awesome to be back home.”

The success that this Ohio senior class has had at Firestone is remarkable, with three straight championship appearances and a 2-0 start this season, the Bobcats look right at home in Akron, Ohio.
Ohio would continue to apply pressure to the Rockets defense, after singles by Yun and Day, Pond stepped up to the plate and added to the Bobcats tally.

The Freshman’s hit rolled down the first base line and was fielded by Morgan Paaverud, Paaverud then tried to tag Pond out but lost control of the ball during the tag to allow a Bobcat run to score.
Brunswick then was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to make it 6-0 Bobcats.

That would remain the score until Samantha Golden left the building with a solo home run.

Ohio then put a runner on second base before a lightning delay halted the game for just over half an hour, but when play resumed were unable to add on to their lead.

Deanna Cole made things happen instantly when she came in off the bench in the fifth inning.

The senior outfielder got an infield single, stole second base, then scored on a passed ball to make it 7-1 Ohio. Cole replaced Alexa Holland who herself made a big impact defensively with a diving catch.

“It’s a good problem to have, not knowing who to put in the lineup,” Roark said. “Both are great athletes and bring different things to the table.”

McCrady would then shut the door on Toledo in the seventh inning, striking out Kaitlyn Bergman to push the Bobcats to the next round.
Ohio will face Miami (OH) on Friday, May 10th, the winner of that game will advance to the MAC championship game, while the loser will move to the losers part of the bracket.

“We’re really excited to have a great game against them,” McCrady said.

The Bobcats get their third chance at beating the No. 1 seeded Redhawks after the third game of the regular season series in Athens was canceled due to rain.

“This is the game our seniors want because they were denied that third chance in Athens,” Roark said.